The miracles of Jesus, that were recorded in the four Gospels, are absolutely amazing. Often times, I think about being there with Him, in person, every day, walking side by side with our Savior in the flesh. I can’t even imagine how awesome that would have been. To see those things with our own eyes instead of just reading about them 2,000 years later. Seeing Him walk on water would have blown my mind. I’ve read this story and heard people talk about it a lot over the years. The focus is always on Jesus and the fact that He, well, walked on the water. I want to talk about the other guy.
Jesus wasn’t the only man to feel water beneath His feet that day. One of the disciples, the one that has always intrigued me more than the rest, decided to give it a shot as well. The other disciples were freaking out in the boat thinking a ghost was walking toward them, so Peter speaks up. He says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” I’ve always liked Peter for several reasons. He was impulsive, passionate, and a person we can all connect with. He screwed up as much or more than we all do today. I can picture Jesus shaking His head and smiling at Peter on many occasions. “Oh, Peter. What have you got yourself into this time?”
Jesus calls Peter out and tells him to come on over. Peter steps out of the boat and into the raging sea. The Bible says the boat was “buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it”, so it seems pretty clear that they were in the middle of a storm. Not that stepping out of a boat in perfectly calm weather would be any less insane.
I wonder what Peter thought at first when he was walking on the water. I, more than likely, would have soiled myself from the rush of defying the very structure of reality. I mean, come on, walking on water? Had that phrase even crossed anyone’s mind until that very moment? I also wonder why the others didn’t pile out of the boat and give it a try as well. Maybe it all happened too fast, I don’t know. I’m sure the ones still in the boat were nearly drowning from water pouring into their gaping mouths. Maybe by the time they realized the walking on water thing was actually happening, Peter had already reached Jesus.
Imagine standing on the surface of a sea, staring directly into the eyes of Jesus. Peter had just done the impossible. He stood before Jesus having completely trusted his Lord and Savior. And Jesus rewarded that faith by allowing His friend to join Him on the waves.
Then it happened. Peter had an “Oh crap” moment. He looked around at the wind and the waves and realized what he was actually doing. He began to reason in his head that he shouldn’t be able to walk on water. He became afraid. The moment of uncompromising faith, that had led him out of the boat, crumbled into doubt, and he began to sink. I almost drowned once when I was little, but I don’t remember it. I’ve heard people talk about nearly drowning, and it’s not something I would ever want to experience, and remember.
I can’t imagine how terrified Peter must have been when he started to sink. He was a fisherman who spent the majority of his time on the water. I’m sure he heard stories all the time about people drowning. He may have even witnessed some of them. He knew the dangers of life on the water, and the consequences of being out of the boat. He cries out for Jesus to save him, and Jesus does.
One of the things that strikes me about this story is what Jesus said to Peter. “You of little faith” being part of it. So Peter, a mortal human, who was prone to constantly making mistakes and running off half-cocked, just defied the very laws of gravity by walking on top of the water, and Jesus says he has “little faith”. I’ve often looked at that to be discouraging, but not anymore.
Here’s why. How many times do we feel like we just don’t have enough faith? We feel as if we’re doing something wrong because we can’t see Jesus doing amazing things around us. We beat ourselves up because of it, but we need to stop doing that. Yes, there are people who have more faith than others, but that doesn’t mean we’re a lost cause. We should look at this as encouragement to keep on trusting God and exercising our faith muscle. Continue putting our faith, no matter how small at first, in God.
Peter walked on water, and Jesus said his faith was small. There are times when we’re going to be out of the boat in the middle of a storm, but Jesus is right there. Don’t focus on everything around trying to take you under. Keep your eyes on Jesus and take His hand.
If the other guy can walk on water, what can we accomplish with our faith?